So much for Sam Allardyce's olive branch, Paul Scholes tries to make amends, and marking Lionel Messi really isn't that difficult...
There are a lot of hacks going all gooey over Louis van Gaal, while Luis Suarez has gone from irreplaceable to irrelevant and Robbie Savage is serious now....
Robbie Savage, January 16, Daily Mirror: 'Manuel Pellegrini is daring to dream about his Manchester City side doing the Quadruple - Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup - and who can blame him? City have the firepower to win all of those competitions, and 99 goals already this season speaks for itself. And we are only midway through January.'
Robbie Savage, February 6, Daily Mirror: 'Three months ago in this column, I revised my pre-season prediction that Arsenal would finish outside the top four, and said what other pundits could not bring themselves to admit - namely that Wenger could win the title this season. And although Manchester City, my tips before a ball was kicked last August, have the superior firepower, I'm not deserting the Gunners just yet.'
Robbie Savage, February 9, MOTD2: "It's Chelsea's to lose."
It must be lovely to be able to keep a thought in your head for only six or seven seconds before it evaporates.
Matt Lawton has written a paean to Wayne Rooney in the Daily Mail. Manchester United should build their side around him and give him the captaincy, apparently. He stops just inches short of saying that actually he's quite handsome in a non-obvious way.
'The energy levels certainly are astonishing, as Rooney once again demonstrated here at Old Trafford,' writes Lawton.
'When Kieran Richardson accelerated past Nemanja Vidic shortly before half-time, it was Rooney who tracked back to make the vital interception when his colleagues in midfield had already decided that they would leave it to a defence in serious danger of conceding a second goal.
'When they were eventually beaten for a second time, in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, it was Rooney who burst down the right wing to deliver what proved the last of United's 81 crosses. Rooney who mustered one last effort from the depths of his astonishing reserves.'
Yes and it was also Rooney who allowed Steve Sidwell to run from midfield to score Fulham's opener as Lawton's apparently indefatigable hero did nothing other than point in his direction as if to say 'there he goes'.
Oh and we're not sure about the wisdom of the Daily Mail illustrating the column with a graphic that shows Rooney (and his 'astonishing reserves') ran less during the game than either Juan Mata or Michael Carrick.
Pump Up The Jam
Paul Jiggins - a man who certainly looks like he has a sweet tooth - has got his confectionaries mixed up in The Sun.
'HOW on earth did this result happen?' is his question after Tottenham's win over Everton. 'Everton may be the Toffees but it was Spurs who were jammy.'
You really wouldn't want a jammy toffee, would you? Or maybe you would if you were Jiggins.
'RAHEEM STERLING is in line for an incredible England World Cup call-up,' writes the clearly quite easily shocked John Cross, who - it transpires - is only actually telling us about an 'incredible' call-up for next month's friendly with Denmark.
Now John, it was 'incredible' that Sterling was called up by Roy Hodgson for World Cup qualifiers in September and October when he was barely playing for Liverpool, but it won't be 'incredible' if he is called up now after five Premier League goals in just over two months of excellent form. Especially as Theo Walcott is injured and Andros Townsend has played barely half an hour of football in 2014. In fact, we would argue that it would be 'incredible' if Sterling was not given the call.
What's really 'incredible' is that Crossy is claiming the story as an exclusive. As does Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail and Shaun Custis in The Sun.
Cross To Bear
Elsewhere in the Daily Mirror, Crossy claims 'Manuel Pellegrini admits Manchester City are running out of goals'.
Of course, Pellegrini admits nothing of the sort. What he did say: "To score goals is always the most difficult thing in football. Maybe, because this team has been scoring goals so easily this season, people have been talking about the number of goals they are going to score again."
It's not often that Mediawatch is aghast but we are genuinely reeling at The Sun giving back-page space to a story from Pat Sheehan which reads: 'Rival clubs fear the FA will let Yaya Toure escape a ban for his stamp on Norwich star Ricky van Wolfswinkel.'
So the story (exclusive, of course) is that an 'insider' from another unnamed club believes that Toure might not get banned. On the grounds that Andy Carroll's ban was upheld and what Toure did was worse.
Mediawatch could waste time explaining the entirely different disciplinary procedures used in those two cases but instead we'll just stick to saying 'Norwich star'? Really?
Bayern: Not All That
We like Mondays because Monday is when Antony Kastrinakis 'uncovers' world football in The Sun. We think we know about world football and then Kastrinakis 'uncovers' something that was previously hidden.
Take this week for example. We thought we knew that Bayern Munich were really rather good - after all, they are 13 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, are unbeaten in 45 league matches, have won their last 12 and have qualified for the Champions League knock-out stages top of their group.
But it turns out we were wrong. And it just needed Kastrinakis to 'uncover' the truth.
'When they come up against big opposition this season they can still lose. Remember their 4-2 loss to Dortmund in the German Supercup?'
We can barely remember that, Antony, because it was in July. And it was a glorified friendly. And Bayern were missing Franck Ribery, Mario Gotze, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger. And then they won 3-0 at Dortmund later in the season when it actually mattered. But yeah, they're sh*t.
Neil Ashton, the Daily Mail, January 19: 'Tim Sherwood trusts the system and believes in his English players. After this setback, a nasty 5-1 home defeat against Manchester City, he will know there is much work to be done at White Hart Lane. On Sherwood's watch this side will play 4-4-2, or a variation of it, as part of his master plan to turn Tottenham into a top-four team.'
Just to check, Neil, is 4-3-3 now a 'variation' of 4-4-2?
Mediawatch is preparing itself for a week of rotten Valentine's puns but Michael Calvin has shot his load early in The Independent with his Chelsea match report: 'It's not Valentine's Day yet, and the love affair between Jose Mourinho and Eden Hazard is approaching unbridled, lilac-scented Mills & Boon infatuation. Who needs Belgian chocolates when you have a Belgian footballer with pretensions to be the best on the planet?'
Worst Opening Line Ever?
'LUCK-OZADE? Certainly somebody should bottle the good fortune in the battle for Champions League places' - Matthew Dunn, The Daily Express.
Quote Of The Day
"First Fulham's game plan worked, then it stopped working, then it was back on track" - Mike Phelan.
Headline Of The Day
'Mourinho's Eden project bearing fruit' - The Daily Express.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'And They Were Singing Films And Arias' - The Daily Mirror figure that only Welsh folk will read a report between two Welsh sides.
Non-Women's Football Story Of The Day
'Iranian women footballers will be required to undergo mandatory gender-testing after it was revealed that four players in the national women's team were in fact men.
'Medical examiners will conduct random checks at training sessions and any players who fail the examination and cannot prove that they are completely female will be barred from the competition.
'Iran's football governing body announced the random checks after it was revealed that several leading players, including four in the national women's team, were men who had not completed sex change operations or who were suffering from sexual development disorders, reported the Telegraph' - MailOnline.
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